Drumbeg Community Association


Drumbeg News
Volume 1 Issue 1 April 2004
Online edition

A Personal View by David Watson
Community has many meanings. One refers to groups of people that live in the same area.
Another fosters the idea of a group of individuals with a similar interest, characteristics or identity. However this sharing of a quality does not mean they are all the same. People have differing needs and circumstances. In fact it is the tension between environment, common identity and individual difference that generates a sense of place. What some call local distinctiveness. Diversity is key to this distinctiveness. Sadly this fundamental property which allows communities to define themselves and others to identify one from another is disappearing in the modern landscape. The only way to counter this demise is to promote community development and identity. I hope this first Newsheet for Drumbeg may help foster such an aspiration here.
Areas are suffering badly from development which damages their individual character, is insensitively sited and threatens local recreation. The countryside's character arises from the extraordinary diversity of our landscapes. This is being eroded remorselessly. All it takes for blandness to triumph is to let events take their course. There are very few other parts of the UK that can boast such a textured and patterned landscape as NI. Sadly this rich mix is being replaced by duller and less varied substitutes. National and Local Government have said much and done little. Each community and individual has a right to maintain their sense of place and quality of life but they also have a responsibility to resist change and fight ignorance that erodes what makes our landscape distinct and special.

Disquiet over Quarterlands development continues
by Tony Hegarty
In January last year consent was granted for dwellings west of Quarterlands Road beyond Hambleden Park. This included a planning condition to restrict their height to compliment existing development. The subsequent planning application blatantly ignored these conditions and proposed to erect large two-storey dwellings on the site. This caused great uproar in the local community and precipitated over 250 letters of complaint to the Planning Office. Such a development is totally out of keeping with existing building and would dominate the immediate area and destroy forever its rural character.
On the 5th April, the Planning Office brought the application before the Lisburn City Council for approval. This was despite the developer having paid lip service to local concerns and without affording the local community the option of full participation in the deliberation process. Fortunately Cllr. Poots and Cllr. Lockhart, acting on behalf of the community have been able to defer the matter until a site meeting is held. We have since been informed that individuals had been 'energetically' lobbying Cllrs on behalf of the developer prior to the LCC Planning Committee meeting.
Drumbeg is a beautiful part of rural Lisburn. The community here acknowledges that the area must develop and change. But it also believes strongly that this must be done with sensitivity and proper regard to the area's existing local distinctiveness. The current application contains nothing of this and if allowed to proceed simply confirms the contempt in which some hold the desires and aspirations of local communities to protect and nurture their identities. Whatever happens we have to live with the result.

Local concerns raised with Community Policing Representatives
In March representatives of the Lisburn District Neighbourhood Policing Team kindly attended one of our regular committee meetings. This provided a useful opportunity to highlight specific local concerns related to criminal activity and antisocial behaviour in this district of Lisburn City. The discussion was wide ranging covering issues such as vehicle crime, domestic, burglary and traffic volume and speed through the area. The meeting then considered strategies to increase community awareness of the risks to their safety and security and measures that individuals and the wider community could adopt to counter any real or perceived threat to our quality of life. DW

Environment group awaken from their winter slumber and face busy year by MS
watering a freshly planted treeLike the local animals and plants it is committed to protecting, the Environment group have awoken refreshed in early March to plan this years campaign. It was gratifying to see the evidence of some of last years efforts bobbing in the breeze around Drum Bridge car park and on lower Drumbeg Road. An extensive programme of tree planting, in association with Lagan Valley Park and the Grass Roots Group has already started. A hawthorn hedge along the north side of the car park and several cherry trees on the west have been introduced to add some spring colour. It is also planned to establish some informal indigenous hedging along the wooden paling to soften its appearance. Recently on one beautiful sunny Saturday morning, some group members and intrepid volunteers pulled on their wellies, and under the expert direction of Andy from Lagan Valley Park did some tree planting around Drum Bridge and the car park. The intention is to create a more varied habitat for local wildlife. In particular Scots pine were planted to assist with the survival of red squirrels in the area, which are under increasing territorial threat from the grey. Around 100 specimens of oak, ash, rowan, alder, pine and hawthorn were planted over the course of the morning. Other planting to fill in gaps in the ancient hawthorn hedge on the Ballyskeagh Road (Ska or Skeagh is the Irish word for hawthorn) has also taken place. The community group take great pride in their efforts to preserve and improve the quality of the local environment for both its citizens and wildlife. Thanks to all those who so regularly and enthusiastically come out to help. But we are always happy to see new faces. Could that mean you?

Plans underway for OAP Awayday
As many may know, every year the Association arranges a day out for our elder citizens. The intention is to offer the more sedentary amongst us the opportunity to get out and about and enjoy a bit of crack and adventure, meet old friends and generally be spoiled rotten. Apparently last year on their trip around N Down they nearly cleared an ice cream van and on the wav home the buses looked more like mobile jungles following a visit to a local garden centre! This year, plans are well underway and the destination for the latest Drumbeg CAP raid on the rural tranquillity of NI has been pencilled in as the fair cathedral City of Armagh. Details are still being finalised but it will include lunch at the Stables and a visit to its heritage centre and possibly the Planetarium. And of course an opportunity to do a little shopping! More information will be available soon. If anyone would like to come along please contact any Committee member. We have two minibuses but even so space is limited.

Let your green-fingers do the talking!
As the Boy Scouts like to remind everyone "Be prepared". This is also an appropriate motto for all you gardeners out there. It is time to dust off those gardening gloves, beat the mud off the wellies and loosen up that back. This year you have no excuse. None of this "I didn't get my carrots in in time" or "Well you know I meant to grow a few dahlias this year but....". The gardening year starts here. And hopefully will end in triumph for a few of you at the Flower and Vegetable Show on the first Saturday in September. I want to see less talk and more action! Imagine letting a P7 run off with the Fruit and Vegetable Cup last year. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Anyway gardening is fun and a hobby to be shared. So get cultivating and bring along an exhibit in September. Triumph or accident we won't tell! Got to go, my potatoes have chatted nicely and I need to get them planted.

The community association has been awarded a grant through the District Policing Partnership (DPP) initiative. This funding is to facilitate a consultation process between the community and the local police to explore ways of increasing awareness and best practice in the community in terms of personal safety and security. It is intended to canvas the local community directly about their views on how to proceed. We are one of five successful groups.

April Gardening Tips
by David Watson
poppy Consider planting flowers which may be dried for winter arrangements. Some of the best are strawflower, statice, celosia, and globe amaranth. Do not restrict yourself to buying plants in bloom. Petunias that bloom in the pack are often rootbound or overgrown and, after planting, will actually be set back and cease to bloom for about a month. Plants without blossoms will actually bloom sooner and will grow better as well.
Scatter annual poppy seeds in flower borders. The fine seeds need no covering. The plants grow rapidly and provide colourful flowers in early summer. In a sunny location with poor soil, plant nasturtiums for a colourful show. They require warm soil to sprout and start blooming in about 50 days. Too much water and fertilizer produces excess leaves and few flowers.
Cut flower stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowering bulbs as the flowers fade. Do not cut the foliage until it dies naturally. The leaves are necessary to produce strong bulbs capable of reflowering.
Prune spring blooming shrubs such as forsythia and spirea after they have completed flowering.
Put a birdhouse in the garden to attract insect-eating friends.

Old School Ties by David Watson
No one can drive past the whitewashed Charley Memorial Primary School and not be struck by how well it fits its surroundings. It has always seemed welcoming to me and its tall many paned windows convey a sense of surprise and amusement. Which seems to fit if you've ever been passing when the children are running in, full of laughter and chatter to beat the morning bell
Charley has been a centre of the community here since it was opened in 1892. The current headmistress is Ms. Gwen Forsythe ably assisted by Mrs Campbell and Mrs. Woods. As usual they have had a busy school year with lots of activities and events to compliment the academic curriculum. The PTA have as usual been untiring in their efforts. For me, as a parent the highlight so far was the Christmas Concert which was a wonderful mix of theatre, music and song. In February the Transfer results were the usual high standard and all P5-P7s are to be congratulated on their achievement. Good luck in your new schools next year. The P5-P7s are recently back from a visit to York whose cultural content was balanced by a trip to Old Trafford!
Happy Easter to all.

Church News by Ray Devenney (Rector)
The community group have kindly granted me a little space in this newsletter to share with you some things that may be of general interest to the local community.
A very popular event every year is the Art Club Exhibition. There is a great array of paintings on display and this year no doubt it will be even better. It is planned for Friday and Saturday 28th and 29th May. The Community Service this year will be held on the 2nd Sunday in June. This is an ecumenical event and I hope as many members of the community and their families will come along. There will be refreshments afterwards in the Church Hall.
Recreational Bowling, Badminton, Table-Tennis and Art and Floral Art classes are regular events in the Church Hall and are open to everyone. Why not come along. For more information please contact myself or one of the church officials.

Drumbeg News Volume 1 Issue 1 April 2004


Editor; Sheelagh McRandal
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